Hello Guest it is December 12, 2019, 02:55:30 PM

Author Topic: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill  (Read 3435 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« on: October 25, 2012, 02:08:38 PM »

I been running Alibre, CamBam, and Mach3 for years and am very happy with them on my Sherline mill.  I just bought a full size mill that was sold new in 1979 as a factory built (Wells Index) CNC knee milling machine.  It has been upgraded over the years so no longer runs the same controller software (the documentation boasts the original came with 120 feet of tape for storage!).  It currently has WinGCNC installed but I'd like to run Mach3 as I'm familiar with it already.  This machine has a cabinet on the back with lots of wiring/circuit boards filling about 2 square feet of space and another cabinet off to the side that is about 2.5 feet on each dimension also full of wiring/circuit boards.  Is there any hope that I can 'plug n play' Mach3 to this or is it more likely a complete rebuild of the electronics to convert it to something Mach3 compatible?

I'm really excited that this was a factory CNC machine as it's less likely that it was something that was cobbled together in someones garage but not too excited about vintage electronics/controls.  Especially if they start breaking and need replaced.

Thanks,

Mark

Offline Hood

*
  •  25,856 25,856
  • Carnoustie, Scotland
    • View Profile
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 02:26:02 PM »
Is it servo or stepper?
Hood
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 02:34:11 PM »
Servo.  Just went up and got info from them.

Electo Craft Corp
Permanent Magnet Servo Motor-Tach
Part Number 0703-02-072

I'm pretty sure it is closed loop (doesn't it have to be with Servo's?).  I haven't found the 'feedback' hardware yet.  I suspect it is Incremental Optical Encoders as there is a bunch of literature in the documentation pile I recieved on them and some in the spare parts boxes.

Mark

Offline Hood

*
  •  25,856 25,856
  • Carnoustie, Scotland
    • View Profile
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 02:44:05 PM »
Ok its DC servo by the sounds of it an there will either be a resolver or an encoder on the back of the motor.
It is almost certain the servo drives will be analogue input control but if you can find info on them it would help.
Two options if they are is
1. to use one of the controllers that work with Mach and can interface to analogue drives
2. Get drives capable of accepting step/dir signals.

Its definitely not just a case of plugging in a parallel port cable whichever route you take.
Hood
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 03:21:26 PM »
This is starting to get a lot less intimidating. 

Climbing around the parts and realized the 2.5 foot square cabinet is likely gutted of it's original contents and now only houses a power supply, computer, and 3 solid state DC servo controllers (NC100 series made by Control Systems Research).  A quick check on the Internet  finds they are obsolete as well as the computer from the looks of it but they really are nothing more than larger pieces of what I put together for the Sherline.  I suspect all of the circuitry in the box on the back of the mill is the mill controls, automatic oiler controls.....so this huge cabinet is just the CNC components.

Mark

Offline Hood

*
  •  25,856 25,856
  • Carnoustie, Scotland
    • View Profile
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 04:21:23 PM »
They will almost certainly be +-10v analogue control so if you wished to use them with Mach you would need an external controller.
There are a few about and the cost varies from about $500 up to probably $3000
Hood
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 04:26:09 PM »
And it just keeps getting better.  More digging around then research on the Internet.....It has a Galil DMC-18x2 in the computer and a Galil ICM1900.  Appears the 18x2 is the controller and the 1900 is a breakout box for the 100 pin connector on the 18x2 card.  Further research seems to indicate there is a Mach3 plug in for Galil and several people are successfully using it.

Offline Hood

*
  •  25,856 25,856
  • Carnoustie, Scotland
    • View Profile
Re: Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 04:28:20 PM »
Yes looks like you have struck lucky :)
Hood